The biggest news story, what seems like of the year, just continues to get bigger so there is really no way for me not to talk about it. Not just because it has everything to do with me as a black woman, but because there are so many differing opinions that are all over the place. So here is my attempt to bring some perspective on the situation.
Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who was found out to be portraying herself as a black woman for a number of years. The story, in a nutshell, is that she identifies with the black community and therefore sees nothing wrong with wearing black face, wearing kinky wigs, dreads, braids or anything black originated because she is considers herself “trans racial.”
Now at first, I really didn’t have a clear opinion on the situation. I was like, “well damn… ain’t that something.” I mean yes she deceived people so much to the point that she was able to be president of a NAACP chapter in the Spokane, WA area, but she did so much for the community. Perhaps, just maybe, we can all look past the lies and the deceit and the insult that Rachel Dolezal really is to black people because of it is all for our advancement.
Then, as more information continued to flow from all outlets, it became clearer to me that this woman, who was married to a black man and who has a child, a woman who denies with every ounce in her body that she is white but at the same time, in no form or fashion, can ancestral claim African American roots (you know… the thing one needs to be considered black), I thought surely she is suffering from some kind of mental issue. I mean, to totally cast off the fact that you were raised by two very white parents because you decided that you just wanted to and speaks about a connection to black people as if your mother and father were melanin rich has to be the result of something being kind of off “up there.”
I was all for giving her a pass so to speak or to brush it off (even though like seriously, I am tired of seeing it every single time I am on anything social media related) but then something happened. I actually started to listen to Rachel Dolezal. I listened to and read her comments from her interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. I heard her answers to the question asked of her.
“Well, I definitely am not white. Nothing about being white describes who I am.”
I watched her movements and her eyes and listened to the tone in her voice. And became even more intrigued. “This bitch really believes this shit.” Then, I heard about her time at Howard University, probably the most famous of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and how she felt left out, alone, marginalized and altogether unwanted at the school because she was white. I read how she sued the school and lost. And it made me think, who the fuck is she to be upset about something that has happened and continues to happen to black people on a grander scale? The very fact that she felt like she was entitled to all the rights, traditions and connections of black people, in my opinion, speaks to the very root of the issue that caused her to unapologetically live as a black woman in the first place- white girl privileges.
Now I know that people don’t want to hear this. But let me break some things down for you. In this country, the images we see pretty much all the time is of white, skinny, beautiful women whose lives are pretty damn perfect. They are CEO’s, cover models, run way models, superstars and they live the fucking life. There is an unspoken privilege that white women have access to that not even white men are able to have.
With that, the very fact that Rachel Dolezal feels that she has the right to do what she is doing is because it is a privilege that her natural born race affords her. She cannot speak of a struggle or “going through stuff” because she has no real right to that claim.
This sounds harsh and controversial but know that it is coming from a real place of truth. It does not make those who are able to take advantage of it bad people or racists people or even stuck up people. In fact, on of my very best friends is white and would definitely argue with me on this without fail and we’d love each other all the same. But there are those like Dolezal who understand it and use it to their advantage.
So her pretending to be black because she connects with the black experience is bullshit. And fuck a “trans racial” because here’s the deal. What she is doing and how she continues to get away with it would not be tolerated if a black person did it.
And for those who believe she is brave or a trailblazer, go sit on down with your Kool Aid. There are so many other more important and relevant issues that brave people are dealing with, you know, like white male terrorist committing hate and religious crimes on black churches.